Joseph Reich Rich Get Richer Essay

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The Tide
A recent study done by Marco Cagetti of the Chicago Fed, illustrates that among members of the Organization For Economic Co-operation and Development, otherwise known as the OECD, the United States holds the most uneven distribution of income and wealth. A disproportionate spread of wealth is an issue citizens of the United States understand very well as this issue has made headlines and gained notoriety recently with the Occupy Wall Street movement. A certain economist, Joseph Reich, discusses the causes and effects of this uneven distribution of wealth in America as early as 1991 in his essay “Why the Rich are Getting Richer and the Poor, Poorer.” Reich’s essay was not only relevant when written over a decade ago, but also remains pertinent to the current economic status of America today. To portray the relationship between the rich as they continued to gain wealth and the poor as they continue to decline economically, Reich utilizes a metaphor of three different boats rising and sinking with the tide.

Reich describes the first boat in his metaphor by stating that, “the boat containing routine producers is sinking rapidly” (Reich 422). The theme behind this metaphor is that the demand for production workers is rapidly decreasing. At one point in time, production workers were in high demand, and paid very well as a result. The introduction of more inexpensive alternatives such as the international market and state of the art machines resulted in many of the production workers losing their jobs, and subsequently being forced into extreme poverty. The international market allowed corporations to find other workers around the globe who were willing to do the same amount of work as their American counterparts at a fraction of the cost. Many businesses choose to move production to whichever country has the cheapest laborers, such as AT&T who has moved assembly lines from Louisiana to Singapore and then finally to Thailand (Reich 423). The common...
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